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Washington Voices

Celebrating our ag roots

Sat., May 11, 2013

The annual Eastern Washington Farm Heritage Show is a favorite for Spokane Valley Heritage Museum executive director Jayne Singleton.

“This used to be an agricultural community,” she said.

The show celebrates the area’s history with hands-on exhibits. Singleton said the show’s site has no water or electricity – giving demonstrations of similar conditions to how settlers lived. Before Spokane Valley built roads, housing developments and shopping malls, the area was full of berry farms and orchards.

There will be a thresher, which volunteers will use to thresh oats.

New this year will be weavers and spinners.

And one demonstration should make viewers appreciate the ease of running to the store for a stick of butter.

“We’re churning butter this year,” Singleton said, which is a lot of work. Part of the museum’s mission is to bring history to life, and the hands-on activities help with that.

The Inland Empire Steam and Gas Buffs will be at the event with tractors. Parents can take pictures of their children on them. There will be a Studebaker carriage from about 1890.

“There’ll be plenty for kids to do,” Singleton said. Visitors will be able to plant corn using an old hand planter. There will be a petting zoo on Saturday with goats, llamas, miniature horses and ducks.

“It’s a menagerie of animals,” she said.

There will also be ice cream, food vendors and music.

Another aspect of the show Singleton appreciates are the memories visitors share with her.

During a threshing demonstration a couple of years ago, some people came up and asked if they could demonstrate sewing grain sacks, which they used to do for a living.

“There’s a method to sewing a grain sack,” she said.

Old methods of cooking will be explored, with a display of vintage kitchen utensils and antique aprons.

The celebration is in conjunction with the city of Spokane Valley’s 10th anniversary, and has been advertised nationally in farm trade magazines.

It is fulfilling another of the museum’s missions – preserving history for future generations.

“This way of life is so quickly disappearing.”

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